Statement from Chief Negotiator David Young and the WGA Negotiating Committee.
We have attempted to negotiate with the AMPTP companies since July. First they ignored our opening proposals. Then they told us we had to choose between their two horrible proposals. Then we removed DVDs from the table. Their response was to walk out of negotiations and tell the press that we were the ones who walked. Last week they presented us with another set of ultimatums. They didn’t even wait for a reply but broke off negotiations and walked out again.
There is a strategy at work here.
In any negotiation there are bottom line goals and “fringe” goals. The AMPTP wants to make the WGA reduce our demands to the bottom line so we’ll negotiate down from an acceptable deal to a bad deal. If we do this, as we did with DVDs, you can be sure they would not hand us the deal we want. They would simply try to further wear us down.
If the AMPTP was serious they would make us a good offer on the “real” issues and the strike would end pretty damn fast. There’d be no choice. But that’s not what they want. They are still trying to create division within our ranks so they can force us to take a cheap deal.
We know this. We expect it. It’s business.
Our only weapons against these tactics are to increase our pressure on the companies and remain united and resolved. The negotiating committee is not crazy. The guild is not scared or divided over the principles of this strike. We are simply insisting that the AMPTP start real negotiations. Until then we must stand together. The stronger we are, the faster this will end. It’s that simple and it’s that hard.
Don’t be confused by the rhetoric. We all know what this negotiation is about. It’s about new media and our future. We have issues on the table that are negotiable, just like the AMPTP does. The difference is that we don’t issue ultimatums.
These are difficult times but we know that our membership has the resolve to see this through.
In the meantime, we are making sure that the advertisers, the investors, the fans, FCC regulators, political leaders and the Hollywood community understand that the other side walked out and we remain willing to negotiate. We are confident that there are individual companies willing to make a fair deal with us. The WGA West Board and Negotiating Committee members will be on all the picket lines tomorrow [Thursday] to answer your questions and hear directly from you.